PROCLAMATION CEREMONY @ Utah State Capitol
It’s a theme that is hallmark in our United States Air Force; a theme that is evident and on display in Team Hill’s Air Force Week Salt Lake City efforts. The people, places, and power involved will certainly follow suit during this unique week in an effort to “bring the Airmen to the community.”
It’s pride and precision clearly demonstrated by our USAF Drill Team’s four-man unit, who opened Monday morning’s proclamation ceremony at the State Capitol. Their captain made five as he stood in the center of 11-pound M-1 rifles slung through the air within inches of his eyes.
It’s pride and precision offered in the synchronized sounds of our USAF Stellar Brass Band who accompanied the infectious wave of salutes rendered by Airmen from all of Team Hill.
It’s pride in our leadership, well-represented on the steps of the Utah state capitol building during the ceremony. Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., noted the amount of “stars” present during broad daylight, illustrating the strong presence of several distinguished guests. Escorting all these ‘stars’ was Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley; such stars included our Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz, Air Force Materiel Commander, General Donald Hoffman, and our own Ogden Air Logistics Center Commander, Major General Kathleen Close.
It’s pride in who we are as an Air Force; a pride in something bigger. Our fellow service members can appreciate the sentiments of 75th Air Base Wing Vice Commander Calvin Williams, who noted that “This isn’t just about the U.S. Air Force… this is about jointness.” While the focus is certainly on the Air Force and our local Hill AFB, the efforts of our sister services are also highlighted.
The morning ceremony was truly a showcase of America’s Airmen, kicking off a week that will focus on pride in our Air Force and pride in the community that supports us.
AIRMEN’S OPENER AF Night with the Salt Lake Bees @ Spring Mobile Ballpark
Hot dogs… flags… flyovers… and fanfare…
Even the baseball team was in “uniform” at Monday night’s Salt Lake City Bees Airmen’s Opener. They sported camouflage jerseys and followed the theme of Air Force Week as events unfolded to propel our local Air Force community and supporters into a unified frenzy.
Top-notch entertainment was available even before the first pitch was thrown. Four parachute team members parachuted onto the Bee’s baseball field, and the final skydiving daredevil floated down with an American flag flying for all to see. The flag was proudly displayed by six Wings of Blue skydivers for the playing of the National Anthem, which was accompanied by a phenomenal flyover of four F-16s and a KC-135 Stratotanker.
General Donald Hoffman, leader of over 70,000 airmen as Commander of Air Force Materiel Command, also led 40 of our newest airmen in the enlisted oath during the pregame show.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker noted that the night “couldn’t be much more American.”
FORTY NEW AIRMEN JOIN THE FORCE
Forty right hands were raised as America’s newest airmen repeated the words of General Donald Hoffman, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, as our newest troops took their oath to join the United States Air Force on Monday night. The event highlighted a massive evening of honor and entertainment at the Salt Lake Bees Airmen’s Opener at Spring Mobile Park.
One of those who stood in front of the booming crowd was Thomas Prusso of Sandy, UT.
“The only thing that really got me going was the military,” Prusso said of his decision to pursue a career in the Air Force.
Thomas won’t be the only Prusso family member making his way into the military; his older brother, Brett, will also enlist into the Air Force next week. “We’ve been military buffs since we were little,” Thomas said. His own Air Force quest started last November when he first met with his recruiter, and the process continued on Monday night with an exciting swear-in led by a four-star general.
Prusso has numerous Air Force goals, but will begin his trek as an armament systems technician. Eventually, he’d like to join the officer ranks. Prusso plans on making the military a lifetime career.
Staff Sergeant Jacob Reyes, 368th Recruiting Squadron team member, noted that such large-scale swear-in events like the baseball game are common for new recruits in our region. We all look forward to another ceremony this Saturday as new recruits are enlisted by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Commander.
To our newest airmen: we salute you, and we look forward to you joining our family in the world’s best Air Force.
Photo Credits (Skydiver and Swearing-In): Alex R. Lloyd. Thanks to Jason Carrion, Air Force Week Coordination Team, 75 ABW Public Affairs for sharing the stories.